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Full text of "The History Of Western Education"

GREEK EDUCATION                        19

by physical weakness to play the coward in war, or on any other
occasion* This is what is done by rich people who have the
means.'**

Interpreting this sketch of the Athenian boy's education
with the help of other facts known to us, we can see the general
course followed in the music schools. The boy went to them
about seven years of age, and was set to learn his letters.
As soon as he could read, he began to study and to memorize the
Homeric poems, a selection from which, written by him to
dictation, formed his reading book. Afterwards he was called
on to recite them to his teacher with a dramatic representation
of the actions narrated. When a little older, he probably took
up the study of music and learned to sing and to play the lyre;
and as he was not being taught to play the instrument for its
own sake, but to be able to accompany the songs he chanted,
a study of the lyric poets followed the learning of the lyre. The
length of time devoted to this part of the boy's education varied,
Probably it went on in the ordinary case till the age of fourteen.
*' Those who can best afford to give this education," according
to Protagoras, " give most of it. Their sons go earliest to school,
and leave it latest,"

We are ignorant of various important details of this first
education. We do not know, for example, what proportion of
time was given respectively to gymnastics and to music, nor
how the school day was spent. The boy seems to have gone to
school at sunrise accompanied by his pedagogue, and to have
spent the whole day there till sunset, with a break for a midday
meal at home, (A law of Solon prohibited schools being open
before sunrise or after sunset to prevent the boys being exposed
to the moral dangers of the deserted streets.) But whether
there were fixed hours for gymnastics and for music, and what
they were, we can only conjecture. Nor do we know whether
the wrestling schools and the music schools were completely
separate, The subjects were certainly taught in different rooms
and by different teachers, and very probably the schools were
quite distinct* But it is not unlikely that they came to be in.*
timately associated, and that even if not conjoined they were
situated in the same locality. This is suggested by the close
connection of the gymnasia with intellectual culture at a later
* Protagoras* pp. 35*5, 326. After Jow^tt.